Don’t Try This at Home: The Weird Habits of Your Favorite NFL Players

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Pre-game prep is a critical element of any player’s game day. Serious athletes, from NFL Pros to pee wee ballers, know that anything they can do before that first whistle to improve their sports performance is worth the time. Some routines are practical with measurable benefits (Double Good Fundraiser, anyone?), some sharpen mental focus or shake off nerves, and some… Well, let’s just say they’re fun to hear about.

What Tom Brady Does
For day games, New England Patriots quarterback and five-time-[word redacted due to copyright infringement but sounds like Superb Owl] winner Tom Brady likes to find an area that puts the sun in his receivers’ eyes and run warm ups in those ‘worst-case scenario’ catch conditions. You can simulate this mid-week by tossing a piece of popcorn toward an overhead light and trying to catch it in your mouth.

What You Should Probably Do Instead
Serious players will practice on the field before a game starts to get a feel for the traction on the turf — cutting back to make that first game catch is not an ideal time to get this information. A good practice is to have two pairs of cleats of different styles (not one pair that fits and one you’ve outgrown) so you can wear the better option.

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What Brian Urlacher Does
Linebacker Brian Urlacher, who played his whole career on the Chicago Bears (cue the Chi-Town Chow Down plug!), insisted on eating two chocolate chip cookies before each game. Silly? Obviously. Then again, Urlacher was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018. There’s also the case of former Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, whose pre-game Skittles obsession prompted fans to shower him with Skittles in the end zone.

What You Should Probably Do Instead
As a practical matter, you need enough food to fuel you for the game without bonking. Maybe just nail down a healthy meal that pumps you up and stick with that.

What Alfred Morris Does
Former Washington Redskin and Dallas Cowboy (free agent going into the 2018 season) Alfred Morris had a pre-game ritual that strengthened his spirit and his game confidence, as well as the morale of the stadium staff: he spent time with his “Stadium Fam” made up friends who work in guest services and security. Before each home game, they would chat about life, sports, and Game of Thrones.

What You Should Probably Do Instead
Nah, go ahead and do this. Building friendships is one of the best parts of playing a sport, and no one says these friendships have to end with your team. We could all be a little more like Alfred Morris.

To be continued…

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